Mission Trip: February 24 – March 5, 2016

RedSquare2Do you feel God’s call to missions for the people of Russia?  Have you been to Ryazan, Russia in the past and feel led to renew friendships there?

Since 2001, churches from the West Virginia Baptist Convention have sent teams to the churches of the Ryazan Baptist Union to partner together in a variety of ministries.  They include evangelism of children, construction and renovation of facilities, economic development, and leadership training.  As a result, mutually inspiring relationships have been built that last for a lifetime.

The material and financial resources of the Russian Baptist churches are small, but their love for Jesus and one another is great.   They possess a determined focus to make a difference for Christ with whatever means are available to them.  And they ARE making a difference.

My wife Jeannie and I will be leading a group trip to Ryazan, Russia, February 24 to March 5, 2016.   Ministry plans include working alongside Central Church in their rehabilitation center.  We’ll also be joining Resurrection Church in their outreach to a nearby Gypsy camp.

Will you join us?

For more information, please contact me at bessdr@wvusa.org

David Bess
WVBC/Russia Mission Partnership



Central Church, Rehabilitation Center



Believers at Gypsy Camp – Ministry of Resurrection Church

March 4-14 Russia Trip – Day Two


On day two Jeannie and I traveled to Koroblino. There we saw some of the results of the economic development fund in Dima Makiva’s thriving auto repair shop. We took a brief tour of the construction site for the new church building, and visited the small halfway house. Pastor Dima and his congregation of 35 members obviously have been very busy.































From Korablino Pavel drove us to Uklovo. Pastor Andrey Dorohov, his wife Nastia, and several members of the congregation met with us. Andrey shared the story of how his congregation came to occupy the present facility. The church has 48 members, and has a very strong ministry to neighborhood children. They have approximately 100 people who attend church every Sunday.


March 4-14, 2015 Russia Trip – Day One

After having our flight canceled from Charleston, WV to Washington D.C., Jeannie and I drove to Washington D.C. to catch the transatlantic flight.  There were no problems with the remainder of the journey.  We were greeted warmly in Moscow’s Domodedovo airport by our translator, Olga Danilova.  We drove to Ryazan and settled into our hostess’ home to rest for the night before getting started with Day One.


Economic Development

I met with the Russia Economic Development group. Andrey Dorohov, Dima Makiva, Valoyda Kochnev, Andrey Krylov, Pavel Zhirov and Tamara Saveliyua, and David Bess were present. Olga Danilova translated. No new loans are  being made due to the present economic climate.

The group agreed to the following:

• No new loans will be made until a strong leader is in place from Ryazan.
• Future loans will be made at 7% interest rather than 5% interest, and the 2% difference will be used to create a delinquent loan fund.

We discussed how to improve communication between West Virginia Baptist churches and Ryazan Baptist churches. Email (with Google Translate), Facebook and three-way Skype calls (with a live translator) were all discussed as options. I am determined to work on better communication between WV and Ryazan churches.


Word of Christ Church

At Word of Christ Church in Ryazan Jeannie and I met with the pastor Volayda Kochev and his wife Vera, as well as a few church members. He and Vera have been married 32 years, and have two children and one grandson. They have a small church of 20 members, but are very active. They have age-graded Sunday School classes and visit often in a nearby hospital for children with cerebral palsy. They have a strong prayer ministry. They are grateful for financial support from WV, and used those funds to purchase a new computer for the church. They also have a puppet ministry, which consists of making their own puppets and ministering with them to a nearby children’s hospital.

Why Russia?


Peacemaker Training at Shatsk, Russia.

Next Wednesday morning, March 4, my wife Jeannie and I will begin our fifth mission trip to Ryazan, Russia. A question that may come to the mind of many is, “Why Russia? Of all the places to do missions, and of all the opportunities available, why are you partnering with Baptist congregations in the Russian oblast of Ryazan?

The first reason is God’s calling. Ten years ago, God began working in my heart and mind as a pastor to get serious about going beyond the four walls of my church to do ministry. The Acts 1:8 model was impressed upon me: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Part of that response to God’s call to missions was a first-time trip to Ryazan, Russia. Having been raised in the Cold War, my heart was burdened to reach these people that long been perceived as enemies to my country. After arriving there and working alongside brothers and sisters in Christ, I was inspired by how they can do so much for Christ with so little resources. I was also convicted about how I do so little with so many resources. Russia, for me, is my response to “the ends of the earth.” My wife Jeannie has also been with me on every trip so far, and she shares that calling.

The second reason is that this opportunity in Russia is a partnership. It is a two-way activity, in which West Virginia Baptists help congregations in Ryazan, and they help and inspire us. The goal of the Russian Mission Partnership is to strengthen and to equip Russian believers through evangelistic outreach and training, work projects to improve their facilities, and economic development to enable them to support themselves in a greater way. Perhaps the most lasting achievement of the partnership however, is the relationships that are established. Despite the differences of culture, language and governments, we get to know one another well, we pray for one another regularly, and we share one another’s joys and sorrows deeply.

After being involved in the Russia Mission Partnership Team for several years, I recently was asked to be the group’s leader. I’ll be making the trip to Ryazan from March 4-14 in that capacity. Jeannie and I will meet with Ryazan Baptist pastors and their wives, encourage the congregations in their outreach efforts, and assist with the economic development fund. I’ll also look for new ways in which God may be moving among our Russian brothers and sisters, new opportunities for ministry together.

Would you like to explore how God may be leading you and/or your church to be a part of the WVBC/Russia Mission Partnership team? You can contact me via email at bessdr@wvusa.org or via my church office phone of (304)755-2224.

– David Bess

Enter into a Sister Church Relationship!

I am writing today to share with you an exciting opportunity for your church to have an impact in the world.  Let me give you three specific blessings that have been ours as our church has been involved in a sister church relationship with Hope Church of Ryazan, Russia for the past ten years. the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  For the past 11 years, I have been involved in leadership of the Russia Mission Partnership Team (RMPT), a mission partnership related to the WVBC.  This has been one of the most exciting times of mission for me personally and for the church where I serve as Pastor, Pea Ridge Baptist.  I believe we have been able to capture a glimpse of God’s worldwide kingdom through this partnership…and I want you to have the same opportunity.  Click here info information on how to get involved:

  1.  We have been able to see first-hand our mission dollars at work.  With
    regular correspondence with the pastor of Hope Church, Pastor Pavel Jirov, we have seen the fruit of their ministry.  We send monthly support to help offset the cost of ministry in Ryazan.  The $200 we send is used in creative and purposeful ways as Hope Church spreads the gospel in the city of Ryazan.  Gifts can range from $100 – $500 monthly.  I can personally assure you that $100 will go a long way in Russia!
  2. We have grown to love the people of Hope Church.  I personally have had the opportunity to preach several times at Hope Church in Ryazan and Pastor Pavel has preached at Pea Ridge.  Beyond that, we have hosted other members from Hope Church as they have visited West Virginia.  We also have a prayer partner ministry between the people of Hope Church and the people of Pea Ridge.  Some prayer partners exchange emails and letters.  Others just know that someone is praying for them.  This personal touch to global mission has made a significant impact on our congregation.  We have also had two different teams from our church travel to Ryazan.  This has allowed us to work side-by-side with them in ministry!
  3. I personally have been touched by the Jirov family.  Pastor Pavel is like a brother to me and we have shared many personal and ministry joys and discouragements through the years.  Knowing that I have a brother in Christ in Ryazan is a real blessing for me.

I really would like to ask that you prayerful consider your churches involvement in this wonderful ministry.  I have included several profiles of pastors/church that are currently without any partnerships.  I have personally met each of these pastors and know their hearts are tuned to the gospel of Jesus Christ.    It is my prayer that each of these would be matched with churches here in West Virginia.  Look over these, pray for them and how God would have you involved.  Contact me and I will give you more information.  I am praying for God’s guidance for you and provision for our brothers and sisters in Ryazan.

For questions, please contact Dr. David R. Bess or visit the Get Involved Page of our Website for more details.


Five WVBC Churches Represented in 2012 Peacemaking Seminars

From March 1 to March 10, 2012, representatives of five West Virginia Baptist churches led Biblical peacemaking seminars for three Baptist churches in Ryazan, Korablino and Shatsk.   Material from “The Peacemaker” by Ken Sande was presented to congregational leaders and members.  Members of this mission team were Greg Creasy (team leader – Pea Ridge Baptist), David and Jeannie Bess (First Baptist, Nitro), Gloria Busch and Nancy Duckworth (South Parkersburg Baptist), Betty Randolph (Oakwood Baptist), and Martina Shull (Hopewell Baptist).   In addition to sharing the Peacemaking principles that have transformed so many WVBC churches, the team also ministered at an orphanage in Novominchurinsk.  Gifts of fruit, towels and stuffed animals were distributed to the children.  The Gospel was also shared through a craft activity of making wordless bracelets.    Later in the day, Pastor Valery Severin of the Novominchurinsk church spoke with the team about the challenges he faces in his ministry, including the loss of a facility in which his church can meet.  Later in the week, Lena Bulgakova shared with the members of the team details of the Logov Girls’ Prison ministry she leads.  She draws upon her own experience in Biblical teaching as well as training received from Child Evangelism Fellowship.  On March 9, the team participated in the Women’s Day activities at Hope Church.  The women present were treated to several dramatic presentations about various Bible stories.

It is always amazing how Russian Baptists do so much with so little resources, while we as West Virginia Baptists often do so little with so many resources.  There are great needs present in the Ryazan area, but the devotion of these brothers and sisters in Christ is strong.  This trip deepened and expanded our partnership ties.  God definitely was present and active among us all!

Pea Ridge Russia Trip – Day Four

What struck me the most today were the similarities and differences between our two cultures. We began our day with a meeting to plan the rest of our week, then set out to the grocery store to buy

supplies to fill gift bags for the kids we would see today and tomorrow. Their big store, Globus, is just like a Walmart or Kroger- food, clothing, toys, kitchen supplies, etc- but alongside aisles of Russian labeled foods we saw Hershey’s chocolate, Colgate toothpaste, Orbit gum, and other American products. For some reason this really struck me. It was a different part of the world, a different language, a different culture, but we are so much the same. After shopping we drove out to a different city called Korablino to help Dima, the pastor of the church there, lead a program for kids. He and his team have been holding a day camp for kids and teens all week that will culminate in a huge party on Thursday and a Christmas Eve service on Friday. They called it the Russian Awanas. We simply introduced ourselves, shared a short testimony, sang a few songs for the fifteen or twenty kids that were there, and hoped they were interested enough in Christ to come back for the rest of the week. Until this point we had only seen the youth in Hope Church who were huge in number and absolutely on fire for God. These kids were not the same. These were kids that needed Christ desperately and had no knowledge of Him. As we met these kids we realized that they were the same as any other troubled kids- in Russia or in the U.S. No matter where you are in the world the need is the same. People just need hope.

Hannah Gaunch – Team Member

Pea Ridge Russia Trip – Day Three

On Monday, we spent time in the region of Tula.

We basically joined with Pavel and Zoya at their family reunion. It was at a small church in a secluded area. We spent time talking with the family

members and then our group sang for them. After we took the time to introduce ourselves, they began to show us the family members on both Pavel’s and Zoya’s side of the family. Pavel has 5 brothers and 4 sisters. Zoya has 6 brothers and 3 sisters. Not to mention that almost all of them were married and had children of their own. It just amazed me to see how many people they had in their families. And

        everyone in both of their families is followers of Christ. This was amazing to me. After they introduced their families, we all sat down and had a meal together. After we all ate our meals and were having tea and dessert, the family had prepared a slideshow of the history of their two families. Their ancestors had been victims of the persecution of Christians in Russia after World War II. They were not allowed to teach young children and youth, because the Russian government did not want Christianity to spread any further. However, the families continued to teach children, and some were even sent to jail because of their doings.

I was just struck by the amount of faith and determination that these two families had. They continued to share their faith even when their lives were threatened. They continued to show God’s love to their children and the others around them. Their strong faith has inspired me to embrace persecution and to show God’s love in every aspect of my life.

Blake Creasy – Team Member


Pea Ridge Russia Trip Day two

Today has been very good.  We slept in a little due to the late night.  Hope Church held their service at 3 Pm on Sunday, followed by a ministry time with Children.  It was wonderful to be with them once again, and for those who shared this experience for the first time, it was a great experience.  We each participated in some way during the service.  Where are some pictures from our day!

Blake was able to sing during the service.  It has been wonderful having Blake here with me.  I have shared so many wonderful experiences wit him already.

Hannah also sang during the service.  It was great to hear both of them and to see them use their talent for the Lord.  Blake and Johnna did a sketch that symbolized the burdens we carry in our lives and how Jesus can carry them away.  Jesus said to us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

It has been interesting over the years to watch the growth of Hope Church. They service today was pack out and there was very little space left of people to come sit down.  Praise the Lord!!!

We were able to had out the Christmas ornaments to each person present.  We even took time to write the church name on the back!

Turns out the New Year’s is the time that most Russian’s exchange gifts…so it was perfect for us to bring something for them.  I was able to preach today.  My sermon title was Living with Christ in the New Year and spoke of the responsibility we have as Christians to love like Jesus, forgive like Jesus, and share the good news with others.  I also was able to assist with Communion today.  It is so good to share the common spiritual bond that we have in Jesus Christ!

After the service, we shared in a time of ministry to children, helping them with a craft we brought and passing out goodies!  It was lots of fun!

We thanks you for your continued prayers and support to our families while we are away.  May God continue to use each of us for his glory in this new year.

To read more about Russian Christmas tradition and Russian Orthodox beliefs, please read the following: Russian Christmas

Until next time!

Pastor Greg


Russia Mission Team

Mission Team from Pea Ridge Baptist Church in Ryazan!

We arrived safely in Ryazan yesterday.  Eighteen hours of travel makes for tired people…so the rest was very good.  Today, we have had a relaxing day with Pavel and Zoya and family.  We traveled to a small village where they have a small home and garden.  Pavel cooked Shish Kabob’s on an open fire in the snow.  We sang together, ate together and several from the team went out for a long walk in the village.

One of the things that has been on my mind today is the power of relationships.  When we travel overseas, there is an attitude of “we have some to DO something” for those we come to visit.  But I was reminded today that there is power in building relationships.  We gain so much from sitting at a table, learning from others and giving into their lives.  Today was a valuable day.  We have memories and ideas that will be with us forever.

Thanks for your continued prayers.  We will be participating with worship tomorrow afternoon with Hope Church has they celebrate the New Year.  We will also be working with their the children at Hope Church tomorrow afternoon.  We will keep you posted here on the website.